Tips needed in scanning album covers


I have many (500+) of my Indian music CD's ripped and converted to mp3 (using LAME) and edited with mp3tag. Each cd content is in it's own directory. The directories are also structured according to Genre.

I just purchased a flat-bed scanner. I want to scan the front and back of each CD (.jpg format) and include those files in each directory (corresponding to each CD).

This is sufficient for most PC based players. But I also want to embed a smaller sized image of the front in each mp3 file so that a) the file size does not increase too much and :sunglasses: portable players like my Treo smartphone can display small sized images anyway.

Please advise on the following:

  1. What resolution (pixel size and color depth) should I use for the jpg files that I want to keep on the PC?

  2. Will image size will be the best for embedding in each mp3?

  3. Can mp3tag sub-sample the image to reduce the size when it adds it to the tag information for the mp3 files? or will I have to do that myself manually before adding the graphic?

  4. Any hints on the steps (in mp3tag) to do this for 1 file and for all files in the directory?

Thanks in advance.
Aloke Prasad

I don't see the point in scanning the back cover too. It will only give you more work. :unsure:

I would do it like this:

Put 6 CD leaflets in the scanner. I think they'll fit. Try hard to make them be straight. Now, I haven't used a scanner in years, but I think if you scan them at 180 DPI that should give decent quality and not too big of a file size. Then, I would use Paint Shop Pro (because I already have it) to crop the 6 front covers and then use a script to resize all of them to 300x300 (decent size, not too big and not too small... I'd rather have them at 600x600, but you said you didn't want to increase the size of the MP3s too much, and that would add like 100+ kBs to each) and use Mp3tag to add them.

Of course, as an alternative, you could embed a 100x100 version into the MP3, but still keep a 600x600 as the Folder.jpg. This way, if you have a player/plugin on your computer that displays cover art, you'll see high quality images, and you won't waste too much space on your smartphone.

Do stuff. Try it out for yourself, and see what is best.

I would scan the back cover to put that on my PC only and be able to finally put away all my CD's in the basement. With the back cover scanned, I'll have all the artist, label information etc. handy. I wouldn't put the back cover in the MP3's.

The bottom line is, I'll have to scan (at 600x600) and convert that to 100x100 myself and use that with mp3tag to add to each mp3 in that directory.

Is there a preferred filename that players will use to display the art? Would front.jpg and back.jpg be ok, or should I use cover.jpg, folder.jpg? Does it matter?

Aloke Prasad

  1. No, you will have to do it yourself.

  2. This is covered in the help and there are several topics here describing how to use the Import Cover action.

I would use Folder.jpg and Back.jpg.

Also, if you load up all covers in a folder, and use a batch- or script-capable image editing software (like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro) it will only take a few clicks to make a script that will turn an image with 6 album covers into 6 separate images (although I would do it manually to ensure all images fit correctly), and a few more clicks to make small versions of all the Folder.jpg files to embed in the MP3s. :slight_smile:

There was a another thread regarding resizing of folder.jpg files by using the well known graphical application Irfanview:
Resizing jpg albumart before importing to id3
Perhaps you can use it for your plans.


Some mediaplayers only display the picture in the mp3-file,
the folder.jpg in high resolution may not be shown.
I had this problem, was a lot of work to solve it.
Greetings from Germany

Pixresizer is handy freeware tool which batch-resizes all kinds of pictures:

There's an XP powertoy that can resize multiple images at once too.

Not only free, but seamlessly integrates into the OS.

Sorry to be so dense...

I now have 600 x 600 resolution jpg files called Album.jpg and Back.jpg in each folder. These have the scanned images of the CD front and back for all the files in that folder. Each CD is in its own folder.

How do I import these into tags?

The Help at file:///C:/Program%20Files/Mp3tag/help/index.html does not tell me the steps to do this.

I tried creating an Action (I called it "Import Cover Art") The content of this action, "Import Cover From File" asks for a "format string for image filename". What should I enter there?

Am I even on the right track? Is there a simple way of adding cover art from scanned files?

If you wanna add your 600x600 *.jpg-files, just load the entire album into Mp3tag and then drag&drop the cover from the same directory to the left side of the Mp3tag-window (assuming, that you have enabled the option "show album cover" in Extras, Options, Tag-Panel).

Press CTRL-S oder click on the blue floppy-disc-symbol to save the cover inside the mp3-tags.

Thank you !!!

I also discovered the following:

Select the files in the right panel of mp3tag, right click, select Extended Tags, click Add Cover on the right pane of the dialog box.

Could someone please tell me where all this is documented?

If you want to automate the import of covers with an action, you can do it as you already tried:

"Import Cover From File"
"format string for image filename": album.jpg

In my case, the covers are resized and renamed to %artist% - %album%. My format string looks like:
%artist% - %album%.jpg

Because the covers are not always in the same directory as the mp3 (i.e. for Samplers with more then one CD), I added a second action with the following format string:
..\%artist% - %album%.jpg

This will look for the cover in the parent directory (the cover will be the same for CD1 and CD2).

Thanks very much - I know of many apps but have not come across this one